Purpose and learning points:
It’s generally the case that ICT security issues have become more important than saving lives, leading to incredibly stupid situations where an organisation won’t share information between its own departments, let alone between separate organisations. We’ve seen internal security so rigorous that the organisation is losing over £1M a year needlessly and can only get useful information to solve that from the DWP! Of course the new British fascination with litigation aspect also impacts this, such that a care worker may spend 30% of their time caring, 15% travelling and 55% creating records to prove that adequate care has been provided for the circumstances at the time. Invariably these records are in notes fields, involving ‘free-type’ which are not readily accessible to create collective information. (See later blog on Deep-dives for social care)
This has led to a situation where management and networks / alliances of agencies have virtually no useful intelligence regarding emergent or even longer term problems. Sharing between agencies is incredibly difficult to achieve, as they need so many carefully worded legal agreements to cover all of their collective backs. Recently many millions of pounds have been thrown at these issues, enabling sophisticated ICT solutions to be developed and yet a very easy solution has been available all the time.
This has been proven in several multi-agency situations, in order that problem families, ASB, Arson and other issues can be examined and acted on in a sensible way. Effectively this starts with the allowable sharing of data; in this case data is the evidence that something has occurred at a location, with no detail as to what has happened. Now consider how you can add a little value to that data, if the address and time/date were entered into a Geographical Information System (GIS), you could see something happened at that address.
At a multi-agency level, each agency could have a unique shape (symbol) and or colour for an event, thus six agencies could all share events across their areas, these agencies could include: Police, Fire, PCT’s, Councils, GP’s, Ambulance and larger RSL’s. The amazing thing that will happen at this ‘something happened’ level is that clusters will start to show at certain addresses and locations.
For each agency and department on its own, these clusters may be quite small in number, however, taken together they may suddenly show sixty or seventy issues at, or very close to, a single address. This is still not information, but it is very easy to obtain intelligence which will enable two or more agencies to discuss what is happening at a few key addresses, which in some cases will enable joined up insight to be obtained. The dots on a map do not solve issues, but they will enable better questions within an organisation and across several organisations.
We were able to show them dozens of multiple issue addresses in their county, not only showing 50+ issues at a single address, but also several properties with 30+ issues either side, simply using and sharing this data sensibly was a big part of their 20% immediate reduction in ASB across the whole county.
At another authority the council’s CCT unit were producing 800 possible police leads a month, which had to be passed onto the 999 system one at a time. We found that by deploying light-duty PC’s in the unit, the immediate engagement of other police officers became simple, with a rapid decrease in minor crime and a 60% reduction in all complaints.
This form of multiple agency mapping and data sharing could be achieved between you and your other agencies in under a week! There will be virtually no cost, there will be savings, not only of lives, but also of time, effort and considerable costs that follow a failure to create and share great information.
The final simple diagram shows how collectives of data from Social Care, the ASB unit, Environmental Health noise complaints, fly-tipping, the PCT and the Police, all can have only a dozen or so issues each at an address, but between them have over fifty issues, when even worrying households will have less than twenty. Data shared simply on the basis that ‘something is happening’ may just be a life-saver.
· Wouldn’t you prefer different departments to share information rather than add £1M a year to your costs?
NOTE Visualising Transformation is a way of working that maximises the information to all people within the system, so as to be useful for their purposes. Enabling people to see what is happening and have knowledge as to how to use that information is at the heart of Lean and Systems Thinking.
VT acknowledges that everything is connected, no one idea is unique or independent of others, this is the first of many planned ‘blogs’ to be released over the next couple of years. We would love to hear your thoughts, or to deal with requests via firstname.lastname@example.org